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FYI Number 90: July 30, 2002

Senate Appropriators Complete FY 2003 Dept. of Energy Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee has completed work on S. 2784, the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill for FY 2003. The House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee has drafted their bill, but it has not been considered by the full committee. Following full committee action, which will occur after the House returns in September, a committee report will be released. Look for a conference committee between House and Senate appropriators in September.

The proposed increases in various physics-related program budgets within the Department of Energy's Office of Science follow. The numbers are taken from Senate Report 107-220 and a press release from the House Appropriations Committee.

HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS PROGRAM:
Current budget: $716.1 million
Under the House bill, the budget would increase by 1.2% or $8.8 million.
Under the Senate bill, the budget would increase by 1.9% or $13.8 million.

NUCLEAR PHYSICS PROGRAM:
Current budget: $360.5 million
Under the House bill, the budget would increase by 6.1% or $21.9 million.
Under the Senate bill, the budget would increase by 7.5% or $26.9 million.

BIOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH PROGRAM:
Current budget: $527.4 million
Under the House bill, the budget would decrease by 4.4% or $23.2 million.
Under the Senate bill, the budget would increase by 0.7% or $3.8 million.

BASIC ENERGY SCIENCES PROGRAM:
Current budget: $1,003.7 million
Under the House bill, the budget would decline 0.4% or $3.7 million.
Under the Senate bill, the budget would increase by 4.1% or $40.9 million.

FUSION ENERGY SCIENCES PROGRAM:
Current budget: $248.5 million
Under the House bill, the budget would remain flat.
Under the Senate bill, the budget would increase by 4.4% or $10.8 million.

The following are selections from the Senate report:

THE COMMITTEE'S APPROACH TO FUNDING DOE SCIENCE PROGRAMS:

"Investment in the physical sciences and engineering plays a critical role in enabling U.S. technological innovation and global economic leadership. It is essential to the development of our energy resources and utilization as well as our defense, environment, communications and information technologies, health and much more. Over the past 50 years, half of U.S. economic growth has come from prior investment in science and technological innovation. Life expectancy has grown from 55 years in 1900 to nearly 80 years today.

"The Department of Energy is the leading source of Federal investment for R&D facilities and fundamental research in the physical sciences. Yet investment in the Department's R&D has declined in constant dollars from $11,200,000,000 in 1980 to $7,700,000,000 in 2001. As a percentage of GDP, total Federal investment in the physical sciences and engineering has been cut roughly in half since 1970.

"Shrinking investment in the physical sciences and engineering poses serious risks to DOE's ability to perform its mission. It also threatens the nation's science and technology enterprise. DOE faces a shortage of nearly 40 percent in its technical workforce over the next 5 years. To meet it needs, it must compete for a shrinking pool of skilled workers with industry, many of whose leaders also report serious shortages of scientists and engineers.

"American educational institutions are failing to attract sufficient numbers of U.S. students, especially women and minorities, into undergraduate and graduate programs in the physical sciences and engineering. For these skills we now are more heavily dependent on foreign nations than ever before. The H1-B visa has become a main element of U.S. technology policy.

"As fewer foreign students choose to pursue their education in the United States and too few U.S. students enter these fields, our vulnerability grows. NSF reports that between 1996 and 1999, the number of Ph.D.s in science and engineering awarded to foreign students declined by 15 percent. Only 5 percent of U.S. students now earn bachelors degrees in natural science or engineering. Since 1986 the total number of bachelors degrees in engineering is down 15 percent. Between 1994 and 2000, the number of Ph.D.s awarded in physics in the United States declined by 22 percent.

"These trends must be reversed. Many DOE user facilities do not operate at their designed capacity. As a result, opportunities and momentum are lost as researchers and students encounter barriers to the pursuit of inquiry of national importance, including promising research opportunities at the boundaries of the life sciences, physical sciences, engineering and computer sciences. Future U.S. global leadership and technological leadership will rely upon today's investment in research in all the sciences and engineering.

"The Committee strongly supports and encourages increased investment in the research and education initiatives of the DOE Office of Science."

HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS PROGRAM:

"The Committee recommendation includes $729,980,000 for high energy physics. The Committee has included an additional $5,000,000 for the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. The Committee recognizes that the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel has recommended that the Next Linear Collider (NLC) at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center should proceed into design and construction."

NUCLEAR PHYSICS PROGRAM:

"The Committee recommends $387,370,000 for nuclear physics. The Committee recommends that the additional funds be used to enhance operation of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Virginia."

BIOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH PROGRAM:

"The Committee recommendation includes $531,215,000 for biological and environmental research. The recommendation includes an additional $10,000,000 above the requested level for the Genomes to Life program and $25,000,000 in total funding for the low dose effects program. The recommendation also continues the free air carbon dioxide experiments at the current year level and $3,000,000 in additional funding for the EMSL computer.

"The Committee strongly encourages the Department to budget for additional resources for the Genomes to Life Program in fiscal year 2004. This program shows tremendous potential and deserves enhanced support."

"Environmental Remediation- The Committee recommendation includes an additional amount of $6,000,000 for a program to evaluate improved technologies for removal of arsenic from municipal water supplies . . . . "

BASIC ENERGY SCIENCES PROGRAM:

"The Committee recommendation includes $1,044,600,000. For purposes of reprogramming in fiscal year 2002, the Department may allocate funding among all operating accounts within basic energy sciences upon written notice to the appropriate Congressional Committees.

"The Committee recommendation includes $12,000,000 for the Department's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research and $4,500,000 in additional funding to complete preliminary engineering and design (PED) and move to construction at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnology. Within available funds the Committee recommendation includes full funding for the operation of the National Synchrotron Light Source, the Spallation Neutron Source, and the Nanoscale Science Centers Initiative, including $24,000,000 for design and construction of the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Construction projects are all funded at the level of the administration's request.

"The Committee is pleased with the progress of the Department's Nanoscience Initiative. The Committee understands the Department has recently announced its intention to fund a Nanocenter at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The Committee has included $1,000,000 to begin preliminary engineering and design in fiscal year 2003 for the Nanocenter at Brookhaven (Project 02-SC-2). The Committee strongly supports the nanoscale science research centers.

"Additionally, the Committee recommends that the additional funds be used to support the following important activities: facility operations user support; completion of the Nanoscience Research Center project engineering and design; and additional work in computational sciences in materials and chemistry.

"Advanced Scientific Computing Research - The Committee recommendation provides $169,625,000 for advanced scientific computing research."

FUSION ENERGY SCIENCES PROGRAM:

"The Committee recommendation for fusion energy sciences is $259,310,000, an amount that is $2,000,000 above the budget request. The Committee is aware of significantly increased neutron yields from compressed fuel elements heated by an extremely short pulse, high power laser beam. Such advances promise significant acceleration of the schedule for achieving ignition of compressed fusion pellets. Accordingly, the Committee adds $2,000,000 to Fusion Energy Sciences for the purpose of evaluating this so-called `fast ignition' concept. The Department is directed to report back to the Committee no later than August 1, 2003 with the results of this evaluation along with any recommendations the Department would make regarding the schedule and milestones of the High Energy Density Physics Program."

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
fyi@aip.org
(301) 209-3095

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